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We’ve reported on PLUS’ plans to introduce a gateless gantry toll system (we’ve even shown you pics of what appears to be the system being tested), but works minister Datuk Fadillah Yusof has revealed to The Sun some new details regarding how we will pay toll in the near future.

Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) will be part of the system, which is in its final stage of implementation. It’s expected to be operational by the second quarter next year at highway tolls and border entry points, ahead of its 2018 schedule.

“Firstly, we will introduce it as a pilot phase at several highway toll plazas and border entry points which will record the foreign vehicle registrations from Singapore, Thailand and Brunei. We are going to implement it in stages in 2017,” Fadillah told The Sun.

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He added that the Malaysian Highway Authority (LLM) is working closely with the Road Transport Department (JPJ), the police, the Immigration Department and other government agencies to ensure smooth integration during the pilot phase.

“We have finalised the RFID system with JPJ and we need to work out with other authorities and agencies. They have to work with us, for example on the vehicle entry permit at Johor. We have to integrate the system and apply only one system,” he said.

RFID works in a manner similar to barcode scanning. A sticker on the vehicle’s windscreen (can even be embedded into the road tax sticker) is ‘read’ by an overhead scanner through electromagnetic waves with a frequency of between 850 and 950 MHz. Scanning can reach ranges of over 27 metres, with a 10 millisecond response time.

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The charge will then be debited from the motorist’s pre-load, just like SmartTAG and Touch ‘n Go. However, The Sun understands that direct-debit is among the proposals for implementation – that is, automatically debiting from the motorist’s bank account.

“LLM is also finalising the details with Touch ‘n Go as there will be no more SmartTAGs for express payment. The system is to be used by all highway concessionaires,” the works minister said.

The Sun reports that RFID has been undergoing testing at the Ampang-Kuala Lumpur Elevated Highway (AKLEH), Elite Expressway and New Klang Valley Expressway (NKVE) for the past 24 months.